It's quite an experience to have a view of the lovely city from the ferry immortalized in Gerry and the Pacemaker's hit from the 60s. It was a cold and extremely windy day in April. Probably not the best day for a boat ride but it was my last day in town and I decided I had to give it a try and I'm thankful I did that.
It was an amazing ride with a fantastic view of the city's landmarks: The Three Graces as well as other beautiful sights with possibility of stops at Seacombe and Woodside. You can really feel the timeless spirit of the city and its people who by the way make you feel welcome and at home there. One of the places with the nicest people in the world! Makes you feel like coming back soon!
You can buy tickets at the Liverpool Ferry Terminal, near Albert Dock, for about £ 7.00 (round trip). More details at www.merseyferries.co.uk/Content/Cruises/RiverExplorerCruises.aspx
Google map: bit.ly/lo6lp6
We learned to dive a few years ago with Nature Island Dive in Soufriere and have since been back every year. The diving is sensational - really unspoilt (not that many tourists) with lovely corals and fantastic sealife. Turtles on almost every dive, seahorses, frogfish, huge shoals of creole wrasse, jacks etc and occasional sharks. The best sites are the least dived - with pristine reefs. All dives must be guided as it is a marine reserve. There are divers from the cruise boats but they are taken to limited sites so if you stay for a few days/weeks ask to go to other sites such as Scotts Head Pinnacle, West End, Craters Edge, Condo as well. The boat rides are short from Soufriere.
Dominica is a wonderful island - the Atlantic coast is amazing for views and walking. The Dominican people are really friendly and proud of their country although you can see and feel the changes happening on the island.
Getting around is, er, interesting. Cars/jeeps can be hired but driving isn't easy due to the poor roads, enormous potholes and other drivers. We have preferred to use the little cheap and interesting buses where possible.
You can buy fish from the fishermen in Soufriere and Scotts Head - they don't sell reef fish fortunately.
The Saturday market in Roseau is great fun - and good value. The fruit on the island is amazing - pineapples have a totally different taste than when eaten in Europe.
I'd recommend staying outside of Roseau - not the prettiest place on the island. Dive shops will arrange accommodation according to your budget and preferences.
If you stay in the south, walk up to Galion village and the top of Scotts Head for the best views in the Caribbean.
The Transpraia railway is a narrow-gauge tourist train which starts in Costa da Caparica, a slightly shabby beach resort on the southern side of the Tagus estuary near Lisbon. It has operated since 1960 and has remained virtually unchanged since then. The train links the town with several remote beaches, each with a numbered stop and several with their own beach bars nestled among the dunes. Even at the height of summer the beaches between Costa da Caparica and Fonte da Telha, the terminus of the 9km railway and one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, remain pleasantly deserted. At present beach 19 serves as Lisbon's gay beach, and nudity prevails along this particular stretch of coast. Other beaches are popular with families and surfers.
Take bus 153 from the Praça da Espanha in Lisbon to Costa da Caparica. Walk along the main road to the beachfront, then follow the boardwalk south until you come across a small railway. Buy a return ticket and alight at any of the 20 stops.
Google map: bit.ly/dZ0ESR
Forming part of the Llangollen canal the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct spans 305m (over 1000 feet) connecting the towns of Froncysyllte and Trevor in north Wales.
Used by canal boats year round, the workmanship of Thomas Telford and William Jessop's early nineteenth century engineering feat can also be enjoyed by pedestrians on the adjacent towpath, a sheer drop above the river Dee. For the experience, likened by some as being suspended in mid air, of traversing this canal, tour operators and boat hire are available from Llangollen wharf. The site is well catered with an information centre, toilet and café facilities as well as disabled access.
Supported by nineteen hollow masonry columns, practical arcades which taper at the summit and are cemented together with lime and ox blood, this narrow cast iron trough measuring just 3.4m across and 5ft 3ins deep served the passage of barges between communities, linking the river Severn at Shrewsbury with the Dee at Chester. The aqueduct holds 1.5 million litres of water and takes around two hours to drain.
Pronounced 'pont-ker-suth-tee', this Grade I listed aqueduct is the longest and highest in Britain at 35m (126 feet). It was recognised with World Heritage status in 2009 and is one of the seven wonders of the British Inland Waterways System. Now a popular visitor attraction in the summer months, it provides an elevated perspective of the surrounding area which can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace as ever-changing painted narrow boat designs catch the eye and chats with colourful characters aboard can be had.
Llangollen Rural, Denbighshire LL20
Google map: bit.ly/fQbNbn
If you're thinking of getting the night bus between Sapa and Hanoi instead of the train, my advice would be DON'T.
I just did the leg from Sapa to Hanoi in a bus and hardly slept a wink. The road is terrible for a lot of the journey. I spent at least the first half trying not to be thrown around, which is hardly conducive to a good night's kip.
I was also uncomfortably close to the man next to me. It was hard not to move without touching him, and I felt very hemmed in.
While I'm usually OK with long coach trips, in this case I'd definitely opt for the slightly-more-expensive sleeper train!
This bus will take you from La Paz (Turista bus station on the Malecon) to Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos and San Juan del Cabo. It cost us about MX$250. The Aguila bus also goes from the same terminal but stops in more places.
Just one word of warning: the bus station in Cabo San Lucas is about 2km from the city centre. It is walkable depending on where you are staying. Walking may be the only option as there were not taxis when we arrived.
Malecon (La Paz)
As holidaymakers rather than backpackers, we decided to get the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai instead of flying, more for a different experience than to save money. We got the 1935 train which arrives at 0945 and as First Class with a private berth was full, we got tickets for the open-plan Second Class carriage costing 841 Baht each (about £17). You book two seats that face each other in a booth with a table then later in the evening a guy comes round and converts both those seats into a lower bunk made up with a sheet and blankets then pulls down another bed which is stored in an overhead locker and has a ladder to get up there but no window. They will ask at the station which combination you want and it is worth booking one up/one down so that you have your own curtained off area on one side of the corridor and can both sit on the lower level together if you are not ready to go to sleep when they turn the lights out. A woman comes round shortly after departure with a menu and you can order dinner. We paid 150 Baht and got soup, main course with rice and fresh pineapple slices. It is all lukewarm and in plastic bowls with clingfilm over so not exactly gourmet cuisine but felt like part of the experience washed down with a bottle of cold beer. You can also order breakfast but we took croissants with us. It is not warm on the train so take a fleece and it rattles along the tracks so earplugs would be a good idea. We didn’t sleep well with the noise and fairly cramped conditions. The shared bathroom is basic with a hole in the ground for a toilet. We were glad we had booked a flight onto our next destination as it’s a long, fairly uncomfortable journey but felt like an adventure!
We flew into Trat having booked a hotel on Koh Chang hoping to find out once we got there how to make the transfer as it wasn’t one of the posh resorts who send a van to pick you up. It couldn’t have been more straightforward as there was a desk at the airport where you could book one ticket at a fixed fee that included an air-conditioned minibus to take you to the port and onto the ferry then drop you at the door of your hotel on the island. It seemed to be a monopoly as there were no other options available. Tickets were 470 Baht one way or 800 Baht return. It took an hour to reach Koh Chang then the journey time depends on how far along the coast you are staying. If you are arriving in Trat by bus, you can get shared taxis and minibuses to the port then board as a foot passenger and pick up another shared ride on the other side.
We booked the Mekong Express bus to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. It cost $11 each and was easy to sort out by taking a tuktuk to their office on the riverside. Buses do get booked up so don’t risk just turning up on the day. It was a fairly old coach but had aircon and a toilet and so we travelled in comfort. The journey takes six hours with a 30 minute stop at a nondescript town about halfway which is obviously where all the coaches stop based on the tourist restaurant full of Westerners which served basic local food at inflated prices but was still a better option than walking round a grotty looking town and being hassled by beggars including some with grubby-looking young children which was upsetting. We had been given a bakery box containing a couple of things we didn’t fancy eating and had already had breakfast at the hotel so like many other passengers we gave ours to the people who crowded the coach door asking for money. A cheap way to get from A to B if you want to save money by not paying for an internal flight and popular with all ages not just backpackers. You also pass through plenty of local villages with stilted houses so get a chance to see some Cambodian countryside away from the main tourist hubs and busy cities.
To celebrate 200 years since the birth of 19th century Hungarian composer Ferenc Liszt, Budapest's Ferihegy International Airport changed its name in March 2011 to Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport (Hungarians write the surname first, and Franz is Ferenc in the Magyar tongue).
Budapest Airport has two main terminals: Terminal 1 (closer to the centre in an older, original building) serves all low-cost carriers.
Terminal 2 is further away from the city, in the village of Vecses, and divided into 2A, with flights to/from Schengen countries and 2B, serving all non-Schengen destinations, such as the USA.
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport
Tel: (+36-1) 296-7000
The airport is located approximately 10 miles from the city centre.
Terminal 1 is easily reached from the centre on a fast rail link costing about £1.
Terminal 2 is further away, and can be reached by taxi, airport minibus service or metro to Kobanya-Kispest station and then bus.
Google map: bit.ly/g6qOS3
Just about the smartest thing you can do on arrival is to head to the central ticket office on the Leidseplein. So well signposted you can't miss it. They sell tickets for all the major museums (so you can sail past the queues at the van Gogh), concert halls and have a handy whiteboard of the day's events so you can see what's on. They also sell travel tickets and will answer almost any touristy question with a smile.
Google map: bit.ly/eNZ2O6
The bus system is very problematic for a tourist. The guidebooks emphasise that you must buy a ticket (flat-rate of 1€ for 75 minutes travel) and validate it on board. But we hardly ever saw locals validating tickets and there seems no way of checking, apart from spot-checks by (non-existent) inspectors. The truth is that for most routes in the centre, particularly at rush-hour, the buses are impossibly crowded so there is only a slim chance of getting onto a bus and no chance of getting near a validating machine – ticket revenue for ATAC must be tiny for the number of passengers carried. Furthermore ATAC has clearly decided not to put a diagram of the route inside the bus or to have a screen telling you what the next stop is. This adds up to a really tourist-hostile service.
Google map: bit.ly/dOTiNm
The train ride is absolutely beautiful. Although the train can get very crowded, the people are very friendly and helpful. As the ancient diesel train gradually climbs into the mountainous countryside, cool breezes usher in a wonderful feeling to the traveller, not to be missed.
The scenery is breathtaking. Sit on the right hand side of the train for the best view. Takes about three hours and costs about £4.
Go to Colombo Fort Station and get the train to Kandy.
Hackneyed though it may be, the hop on/hop off tourist bus in Havana makes a lot of sense. First off, in a city where transport is pricey for tourists, these CUC$5 are well spent if only as a means of getting around. Secondly, while you won’t be using the bus to explore the crumbling splendour of Havana Vieja’s side streets, you will hit other more distant spots like the Plaza de la Revolucion, with its somewhat scary murals of Che and Camilo Cienfuegos, and the artisan market. But nicest of all, in a city where much of the life (and best photos) happen one floor up on the bustling, colourful balconies, the open-top bus gives you some of the best views in town.
From the Hotel Inglaterra in the Parque Central, and various other points around the city.
Google map: bit.ly/e5glFN
With Ryanair setting up a new base in Kaunas, this is very much the cheapest way of getting to Vilnius.
Vilnius is only two hours away from Kaunas by train and costs about £4 each way.
Having said that Kaunas is worth a visit itself for it's old town and Nazi era Ninth Fort concentration camp.
With Ryanair setting up a new base in Kaunas, this is very much the cheapest way of getting to Vilnius.
Vilnius is only 1.5 - 2 hours away from Kaunas by train and costs about £4 each way.
Having said that Kaunas is worth a visit itself for it's old town and Nazi era 9th Fort concentration camp.
English language website for train times can be found at www.litrail.lt though they do tend to change train times frequently.
Its totally free you just have to register. You can search through listings of people heading up to the hill and find a cheap lift. Alternatively you can post when you are driving up there and get other people to share the petrol costs.
Vancouver's metro. The subway from Airport to downtown just opened in 2010, quick and easy from terminal to the heart of Vancouver. The fare in October 2010 was $3.75 Canadian. Riders are polite and cars are clean.
If you are planning to visit Johnson Space Center but don't have a car or want to pay through the nose for a cab (over $50 one-way from Houston city centre), then there is a good public transport option. The 246 and 249 buses both go directly to the front door of Space Center Houston, which is the public visitor centre and entry point for tours of the Johnson Space Center. We caught the 249 from near the Downtown Transit Center (one block away from the corner of Main and Pierce streets) for $2. Our return was on the 246, which leaves from the same stop outside the Space Center, for $4.50. Not sure why the prices are different, the driver said it was just due to it being a different bus line. Timetables for the buses do not appear at the bus stops so it is best to look these up online before you travel.
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